tv Charlie Rose PBS December 31, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PST
won't you open it? it is a gift from charles. it was mistakenly delivered to me. >> rose: when he died in 1870 "the london times" declared charles dickens to be the greatest instructor of the 19th century. dickens believed in the power of literature to inspire moral and ethical behavior. his personal life, however, was much more complicated. long after his death it was revealed he had a 13 year love affair with the young actress named nellie turnan. a new film the invisible woman tells the story of their relationship it was directed by ralph fiennes who also stars in the film as charles dickens. here's the trailer. >> standing alone, until there was a great retiring wave. he seemed to leap up into it with a mighty bound.
and the ship was gone. >> surely it is never so alive as when it is spoken. >> thank you. >> mr. dickens, mr. dickens. >> thank you. >> you are an admirer of my husband's work. >> he has read every chapter twice. >> i am glad. >> every human create you are is a profound secret to every other. >> until that secret is given to another's perhaps two human creatures may know each other. >> why are you up so early. >> i must go to london. >> why didn't you tell us you were coming. >> a last minute impulse. >> so what will you do with your winningsing nellie. >> i will spend it all at once. >> a fine young woman. i'm anxious for her future.
>> if i may be of assistance in any way. >> dow love him? >> he is married. >> it's not stopped him from falling in love with you. >> you cannot keep her a secret. >> yes, i can. >> he cannot. >> this is insanity. >> you have been in every line i have ever read. >> you were part of my existence, in the last hour of my life, you remain part of my character. >> everyone has their secret, and this is ours. >> ray fiennes is here also felicity jones who plays nellie turnan, i'm pleased to have both of them at this tablement you just saw felicity in a remarkable performance, sir, as a director you -- >> she was remarkable, and
you deserve some credit, doesn't he felicity. >> just a tiny amount. i mean come on. >> rose: yeah. >> yes,. >> rose: what i love about this is the power of a love affair. that is what i like a lot about this. >> absolutely. i feel the story is about two people who fall in love in very difficult circumstances. and it felt important for both of us that it was about understanding both nellie being in love with this man and wanting to be with him but at same time wanting to hold on to her own identity and retain her dignity and her sense of place in society and she didn't want to necessarily become his miss stress. she didn't want to be that role and in many ways the film is about that struggle. >> how did you discover this story? i was given a screenplay by anie morgan who wrote i lately. and loved the screenplay. i didn't know much about
dickens. i knew the sories, had only read one dickerns little doority. >> that stunned me. was it because you deliberately hadn't found the time to do dickens early on -- >> well, subjected to dickens stories as a child, filmsing adaptation, recordings, a christmas carol, had only read little doority when i did english we did lots of shakespeare and em forester, not dickens. and i'm still puzzled as to why, either of did dickens at school. >> knox i didn't. >> university even. >> i studied him at university. we spent a stwikdeeing dickens. and i think i was-- had a limited time to right would an assay so i tried to find the shortest book i could find. >> this is coming pup in so many conversations, i am surprised, to bring ring up my english teacher to say why wasn't dickens on our sill i-- syllabus. >> i think dickens and shakespeare suffer from being on the syllabus
because it means people associate these writers with going to school and they feel like they know them but they don't know them as adults. and so it's sort of for both of us we discovered dickens in depth when we came to do the film. >> rose: so you discovered this through a screenplay. >> and then i read the book on which the screenplay is based which is a fantastic biography on nellie, a wonderful piece of almost detective work. it's called invisible woman. and it won i think it was well-received critically, received great praise about 20 years ago. and it's a fantastic-- i mean dickens is a key player in it but it is really a piece of great detective work. and the first chapters a fascinating study of actresses, the theatre, early 19th century theatre and the role of women actresses and how they were perceived. and in the case of the turnan family looking for respectability in a profession that was looked especially for a woman looked upon as being, you know, dubious because one level up from being a prostitute. >> and how much of it is
true? all of it. >> the film? >> rose: yeah. >> well, the essential points are true, clarely there are imagined scenes. >> rose: but the essence of the story is as you tell it. >> charles dickens, 45 years old, father of nine children meets young actress, aged 18, in 1857, falls for her, hook line and sinker, pursues her. >> leafs his wife. >> then she separates, does not divorce, separates from her. and then finds a life together, he sets nell-year up in a cottage two houses in fact consecutively. and comes to visit her while he's running around doing his readings and being-- leading the life of charles dickens the famous writer but goes to visit her. >> and effectively he kept it a secret for the whole of their relationship. >> obsessively secretive about the whole thing. >> rose: and she didn't disclose it either. >> no, no. not until as in the film, not until years later when she had remarried and she confided in reverend benham who is in the film and felt
this need to tell her story. and to declare her involvement with dickens. >> rose: and so what do you-- as awe approach this character of nellie, did you understand how she would have been so, so caught up in the power of charles dickens and her own attractiveness to him that she would be willing to sacrifice? >> well, i felt instinctively that she met dickens despite his age and his fame, i feel like she met him as aning wall. i think their attraction was that they felt like they were equals intellectually despite the age difference. and that she, she wanted to, i think deeply she wanted to be with this man. but i think it was just very complicated for her. she was definitely very conservative about nellie. as we said they were, the women despite being actresses they wanted to be taken seriously in the
world. and so it was this struggle between, between wanting to know who are you and retain your sense of identity but be in love with someone at the same time. >> rose: take a look at this scene. this is where the two of them share private moment discussing how two humans can come to know each other. here it is. >> this is my favorite time. when the day is creeping up on us and we must put an order the chaos of the night, stand guard once more, ready for life. a wonderful factor to reflect upon, that every human creature is a profound secret and mystery to every other. >> until that secret is given to another to look after, and then perhaps to two human creatures may know each other.
>> do you not think -- >> yeah. >> yeah. >> rose: yeah, yeah within yeah. >> rose: so i mean who first realized that they were attracted to whom? they both came about at the same time? there was this sense of -- >> i think dickens fell for her almost immediately. i mean i have this-- this homemade theory that dickens had written a type of perfect, pure young woman in his books likester summers in-- david copperfield and little doority, and suddenly he meets her. and there she is. i think he projects a lot. >> he thinks that is what she is. >> he projects on to her it is his projection. and then part of it is earn willing who she really is. you know, but i think and then i think, you know, what felicity's performance shows brilliantly is the sort of way that nellie negotiates dicken's attention and has to sort of accept or find
her way through to eventually, you know, accepting being in love with him. >> rose: you says he's very good at being honest. what did you mean? >> there's no dressing things up or falseness in his direction or in the way he lives as a man. and that is always what you want as an actor with a director. you know, sometimes people will come up to you and say that was great, that was amazing and you know it's not true. and so i think from the very beginning we set up a relationship of honesty and we both care deeply about these characters and about the film. and it was about portraying them with all their faults and complexity. >> what brought you two becoming an actress or wanting to become an actress? >> i started, i mean it was a very strong desire in me from a young age. and i started go-- going to
a drama group, i remember. i had a young friend and we both begged our moth ares to take us to this drama group. and it was a theatre group where we would put on plays and also i would have auditions for film and television it was a wonderful person who lead the group called colin edwards. and he was, you know, we were 10 and 11 and he would teach us about harold pinter and treat us like we were grown-ups. and it was going to that group and having this amazing teacher. >> rose: and so from there you did what? >> from there i-- i would have auditions for television. and i was fortunate, i did a children's tv series called the worst witch way was about a witch school. and did tv commercials and then continued acting as an adult after going to university. >> rose: now when, as a director, people say casting is crucial. this is the most important role you have to cast. although you've got a former love of yours in english
patient, kristen scott as her mother. but casting, what were you looking for. >> in nellie? >> rose: yes. >> i was looking for an actress who could inhabit profoundly an interior life. we see nellie in two different time scales. so we see her as after dicken's death, we meet her married running a school for boths on the south coast of england and go back in time and meet her much younger. i mean it was-- i didn't want to get bogged down in age difference too much. there was an older nellie and a younger nellie. but i wanted, and because the age difference is huge, i wanted an actress who could suggest by interior shift and nuance the maturity. and so, and that's what felicity could do in spades. i mean it's amazing to watch her work because you sense this interior life shifting, moving, emotions and thoughts passing through her in present moment. and there were often days when i was very profoundly
moved by what i was seeing. >> rose: does it get, this is your second time. does it get easier the second time after you've gotten through the initial sense of i can do this? >> well, i don't think-- you think i think i can do this. >> rose: i hope i can do this. >> i hope i can do this i pray i can do it, you knowing i'm blessed amazing leading actress, a fantastic -- cast around us, kristen scott thomas, wonderful joanna who is just an extraordinary performance. >> rose: what was the hardest part of it for you. >> well, i did this sort of crazy thing directing and playing principal role which i had done twice. it may seem egregious. >> rose: any good aspects to it? >> in this case it kind of did. there were days when it was hairy and difficult and coy sort of feel myself you know thinking just about in control of this thing. but funily enough dinks himself was an actor, director, amateur. he loved the theatre. and we meet him first at the
beginning rehearsing a play. >> rose: i saw that. >> an he was in control of every element of production as an actor manager. and it was a bit of me that had to do the same thing. there was a cross fertilization going on. it helped. >> simon you couldel said and we'll see something of him later said that playing dickens and his characters is like quote riding a bucking bronco. >> that's a great phrase, yeah. >> rose: like riding a bucking bronco. >> yeah, i mean he, we both just have been totally amazed at how much energy this man had. he was extraordinary. you know, he was feverish in writing, living and drinking. he loved drinking. >> sort of freaky. i mean we get up. he would write, he would then edit monthly or weekly journals that he was in charge of. and then he would be entertaining and walking, de these amazing walks through london at night. >> he said that. >> the darkest and poorest places.
and he often, in the film we see him walk from his country home to london which i think de once, it was about 36 miles. and he had a manic energy. >> here is another conversation between the two of them on stage about a meeting that he had arranged between nellie and his wife. this would be charles dickens. here it is. >> nellie, nellie, it was a mistake. >> did you send catherine to me? >> yes. >> she is the mother of your children. how could you be so cruel. >> as for that i will always be grateful but i do not love her. she comprehends nothing. she sees nothing. i thought if she saw you then she would understand that i have nothing with her. i wanted her to see it. >> it! what is it, charles! what is it that we are? when your wife asked me if
i-- if i was fond of you, i could not honestly reply. i wanted to say no! >> rose: wow that is a powerful scene. >> i remember doing that take and you were like just do one more and push it as far as you can go. i i said you won't use that one,. >> that was the one. >> rose: you used the one that came after you said push it. >> yeah. >> no, no, i said let's just dare to break through to a level where it can be as raw as it can be and if it goes off, then dow that one. and-- . >> rose: it went off. >> that's great, we had broken the boundary and i said let's maybe just do one, take it down a touch. and then my editor saw that and said that's the one. >> rose: that was the one where you take it down a touch. >> no, no. >> the one before and i went it up to him and said promise you won't use that one. >> rose: which one. >> the one that he used.
>> rose: why? >> because you thought -- >> no, because i was like it's going to be too much. >> rose: too-- dramatic? >> yeah, due. >> but i think one of the things the cliche about film acting is less is more which is sort of yes, right, that's kind of a good guideline but sometimes you just got to --. >> no, and as long as you believe it. >> if it comes from somewhere real and true but i just, i love it when i see actors sort of lose it on film. and it's real, it explodes, fantastic. >> rose: i mean it was a wonderful moment. >> yeah. >> rose: you know, the real deal. >> collaboration. >> rose: i also want you to see we brought this along from previous interviews of mine this is february 17th, a year ago in 2012 where we did a panel on the 200th anniversary of dickens. and simon you couldel was there. and he talked about what it meant to play dickens. here it is. >> well, the thing you have to connect with is this
torrential energy, which is that's playing dickens and playing his characters, it's like riding a bucking bronco. the man is absolutely bursting with undischarged energy. and the great thing is that you then have to master it. unlike shakespeare where you must allow the character to penetrate into your soul as it were, with dickens you have to hang on to the ears of mrs. gamp if are you going to play her as i have done. and it's a very exhilarating experience but you need to be in very good shape to do it. >> rose: do you agree with every word he's saying. >> that's great. >> i saw simon's brilliant showment and in the show he plays-- one man show, did you see. >> rose: no. >> he tells the story of dickens. and he gets to the point where he talks about dickens the performer reading his work. and he talked about his technique as a performer, reading his work, how he would absolutely nail an individual in the audience. and when he did that on stage he looked right at, it
seemed us, me, you know, it was extraordinary. you really felt simon callo as dickens bam, pinning it to your chair with his eyes. >> all right, here is another one from simon you couldel about dickens again. take a look this is talking about work as an actor and director. the influence of all these roles as an actor and director. on his writing. here it is. >> oh, it was all consuming, from a very, very early age this great, this great gift of performance, he would stand on the table in the local pub and tell stories and sing songs. he went to the theatre at a very early age in chatham, fell in love with it, absolutely. also fell in love with the process of making theatre. he went to rehearsals, for example, of the amateur company run by his step cousin. and he as soon as he possibly could he started acting himself. and there was a serious desire on his part at one point to become an actor. he actually applied for an audition to the garden theatre an simply illness
stopped him from taking it up. he then the audition was defered to the next season and instead he was invited to become parliamentary reporter on his uncle's newspaper. and then his destiny as it were was set in that direction. but he kept on harking back to the theatre and performed many, many plays by other people, ben johnson, shakespeare and so on and became a great direct err too. that's perhaps the most surprising thing to me is that he became a brilliant director, sought to raise the whole status of the stage in his production. he was quite obsessed by it. he did a little amateur production about a week before he died. it was full energy, though he was incredibly frail. and he said to a friend, i should have run a national theatre. that's what i should have done with my life. >> did it impact his writing? i think more than you do with any other great writer, in the presence of the author. you feel him doing it for you. wanting your admiration for the versus crossity of the different voices that he
employs, even the pros passages are like great arias, it's all a performance. >> you're agreeing with him. >> yeah, fantastic. that's it. >> i hope he likes the film. >> i know, i was thinking that. has he seen it yet. >> he was very generous, i met him and he was incredibly helpful to me in talking about, he lent me some books. he's written a wonderful book himself. >> write on dickens but -- >> playing dickens. >> a story of his life, very much through the perspective, looking at dickens kind of in the tone that we just heard. >> and tell me about the wife. >> catherine dickens, dickens married catherine, she's of scotts descent, parried her in the late 18 --. i think it was initially a happy courtship. he was on the rebound though dickens. he definitely had pursued another lady who had rejected him. and you feel when you read these biographies he was
quickly looking for a sort of blissful domestic marital settup which he found and i think initially it was quite harmonious. but i think she was pregnant nearly every year of their marriage, i mean for 20 years, every 20 years she was either recovering from pregnancy or about to be pregnant or was carrying a child. i think it affected her. she meant to suffer from post natal depression. i think she physically grew in size. she became, you know dns a larger person. >> a larger person. i any when we meet her in this film, what i tried to suggest with abbey pore began is this is a marriage, it's not painfully unhappy but it's functional. it's habitual. it's polite, it's respectful but there is no great flachl of passion there is not great warmth there. it is two people who have come to some, they can negotiate their daily life around each other, it's fine. but, and joe hana who inhabits catherine dickens is extraordinary. because she gives great
dignity to the part and in a crucial scene what's meant to have happened is that dickens had commissioned a piece of jewelry for nellie as a gift. the jeweller thought it was for the wife. sent the jewelry to catherine who there was, and it was clearly soon she realized it wasn't for her. dickens said to his wife please go and give it to the woman for whom it is intended, nellie turnan. dickens said go and give it to her. in our film abby has written a fantastic scene where katherine dickens arrives in nellie's home. >> it's on her birthday too. happy birthday. and it's a great scene because in it katherine dickens through joannea's great performance talks about dickens, about how you may love him, he may love you but you will never really know whether it's you or his public he loves the most. i think that is one of the great things about abbey's script is that it really is dicken's relationship that is public and how it is important to feel that he is in a relationship with his
readership or audience. >> i think, i think he, i i think he was capable of immense cruelity as well. it's almost as though when he met nellie at dickens had a nervous break down and it is as though he wanted to start again. it's like he wanted to reclaim his childhood, even falling in love with an 18-year-old suggests that this man is trying to reclaim his boy hood. and it meant that he just wanted to get rid of everything that had gone before. and therefore i think behaved very cruelly towards katherine dickens and his children. >> so in the end what was his impact on her? >> on nellie. >> on nellie, gosh, i think she, i think he formed who she was in many ways. i think like all early relationships that you have in your life, those people become a part of you. they, you know, they scar you in some way.
and i think that's what the fill some about is understanding those wounds that you have from early love. >> and was she in love with the great man or was she in love with this man? >> i believe in love with the man, the person himself. >> it wasn't in any part the sense that he was this gifted writer. >> i think the two were inextricable, yeah. >> rose: who he was was -- >> absolutely. the artist and the person were entirely fused. >> rose: thank you, pleasure. >> thank you, charlie. >> thank you very much, thank you. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> on down here, the crowd stands. everybody's waving their arms, it's in to kareem, kareem swing left, right hand, 12 footer! kareem abdul-jabbar is here. his nba all time leading
scorer with 38,387 points. over the course of 20 seasons, he won six nba championships, six league mvp awards and was a 19 time nba all-star. he is best known for introducing basketball to the sky hook, a shot that is nearly impossible to block. he has just written a new kid's book called sasquatch in the paint. and he is announcing a new initiative called camp sky hook which focuses on education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics. something we all need. i'm pleased to have kareem abdul-jabbar back at this table. welcome. >> thank you very much, charlie. nice to be here. >> rose: we'll talk about all this. first this sasquatch. >> sass catch-- sasquatch in the paint. >> rose: and theo is you. >> more or less. it's kind of my experiences when i was growing up. hi my growth spurt between the 6th and 8th grade, i grew about a foot. and-- . >> rose: between 6th and 8th grade. >> two years, i grew about a
foot and all of a sudden you get this height and everybody thinks you're supposed to be a great athlete and you don't have any more skills than you had before you started your growth spurt. so how do you cope with that. and just the expectations that kids have of someone who presents that type of situation. >> rose: and you hope they'll get out of it what? >> hope they get a feeling that what they're going through as they enter adolescence is nothing crazy or strange. every kid goes through t every adult has gone through it. but when it's happening to you you think you're the only person that this is happening to. so between my experiences and my co-author's he's got two kids in middle school right now. so he was able to steal enough from what he has learned about their lives to make this an interesting book. >> rose: but you've always been a curious guy an an intelligent guy. when you were 6, 8 when you were 14, you obviously stood out. >> absolutely. >> rose: how did it affect
you psychologically? >> it is tough because you have people all of a sudden you're as tall as an adult so you must be able to act like an adult. it's not true. you got to fake t you got to figure out ways to not seem that it's any big deal that this is just natural and you're all on top of it. you know, that's what kids more or less think about, how are they supposed to conduct themselves. >> rose: are you interested in kids. did you want to write a book to kids or did you simply want to write a book and this was a nice book to write. >> i thought that kids needed to deal with these issues because for me so much of what the benefits of team sports are not-- those values aren't being transfered to the kids. you know, the whole idea about team work, conflict resolution, understanding how to help each other. all of those things that you learn the discipline that
you develop to develop your own personal skills and the skills that you develop as a group. these experiences really help you as a go through your life. and write now it's all about play of the day and look at me. and we need to do something about that lz. >> rose: and also i want to talk about camp sky hook, what's that about. >> camp sky hook basically is my effort to give kids a shot that can't be blocked. science, technology, engineering and math will be the basis for most jobs in the 21st century. and if you don't have some preparation in those subjects, you're not going to be able to get a good job. the state of california wants to get this message over to the young, to the kids who are now in grade and middle school, that they need to start thinking about this. so i'm working with the state of california. we have a camp up in beautiful and less national parks that is teaching camp,
so the kids get to go up there for a week, experience nature. a lot of them, they live less than an hour away and they've never been-- never seen it. >> rose: it's amazing, i know. >> it's incredible so we want to enrich these kid's lives and give them an idea of what to focus on with their educational efforts so that they can, they will have a chance as adults to get great jobs and do good thins for their community. >> rose: it would be great, and i know you have thought about this, all the areas you take off are things that this country needs in order to be competitive in the 21st century. >> exactly. >> rose: every one of them. >> exactly. >> rose: part, science, engineering, computer scientists. it would be nice if we, if somebody could figure out a way and this is not my original idea, everybody's been talking about this, so that kids were aspired to be scientists as much as they aspire to be nba stars rock stars. >> these kids dream about being as you say rappers, actors, athletes.
and most of the time these dreams aren't realized. but they can get a job, a 6 figure job right now immediately out of college if they have an engineering degree. and they don't understand telephone. they don't understand where to look for meaningful employment. >> rose: do well, and then go to college and then go maybe perhaps graduate and then get a job doing really interesting things because the scientific discovery process is like solve a puzzle. >> like solving a puzzle and there is a pretty nice financial remuneration job. >> rose: and if you get entrepreneurial, even more so. >> yes, exactly. >> rose: tell me about your life today. >> my life today is great. yeah, i get a chance to write. i work with people, you know, i'm a leukemia survivor. and i get a chance to work with people doing patient summits and giving them the opportunity to figure out what ther's going through. and hopefully give them some
good ideas about how to shall did --. >> rose: because it's easier for them to deal with it if they know that someone like you has dealt with it and survived. >> and survived and that they're not alone and it's not a death threat. >> rose: yeah within you know, i started out on a drug called glevic. >> rose: yes. >> and it was such a great drug but it didn't get me to the space i needed to get to, so they switched me to the second generation drug called tasigna and i achieved a full molecular response which means that there is no bad white blood cells in my body. so my leukemia is really being managed. >> rose: but the question then becomes do people who may have the same leukemia you have but are not as famous or as wealthy have the same access to that drug. and if they don't how do we make sure they do. >> oh we're going to make sure that they do through a the lot of different ways. but they can call the company, novartis. >> right. >> rose: a pharmaceutical company. >> a pharmaceutical company. they can call them and they
have ways and means of helping people who can't afford to pay for their medication. >> rose: when you look at the nba today, and you look down and see what the miami heat has and what they're doing, is lebron the greatest player in the history of the nba? >> i don't think so. and i'm not knocking lebron. lebron is awesome. >> rose: right. >> i don't know if he's the greatest ever. >> rose: because it's too early to tell. >> it's too early to tell, yeah. >> rose: and how do we measure who the greatest is. >> i think just a combination of statistics and then just the actual success of winning the world relationship a as. >> rose: you have to put into how many championships you won. >> exactly. >> rose: because that's a test. >> right so, for most people, for me, the greatest nba player i saw was bill russell. >> rose: because he won how many championships. >> 11. >> rose: yeah, exactly. >> 11 in 13 years, eight in a row.
that's not going to happen again. that was incredible. so you know, i try to defer to him n terms of individual excellence, i always point to oscar robertson. >> rose: why do you do, i know dow, because of the pureness of his shot or what? >> oscar had seasons where he averaged triple doubles, that is points, rebounds and assists. no one else has done that i done think anyone else could do that, he is the only one who could do that i like to acknowledge him because people didn't get a chance to see him play when the game was being tell viced around the world like it is now. so they really don't appreciate him. >> rose: when you look at your old team, the lakers. >> the lakers actually, you know, this season should be a fun one for the lakerers kuz expectations are way down. could bee is hurt, nash is hurt-- kobe is hurt, nash is hurt and they have a lot of
new personnel. but the guys that of this's got are pretty good athletes and they're working hard. they're getting some things done. i am pretty sure that they will at least end up in the middle of the pack, you know. >> rose: other than you, who has the second-best sky hook in basketball? >> nobody else shot it like i did. >> rose: i know, why is that. >> i don't know. you know, i worked on it. when i was in the fifth grade my grade school coach got some guys to like show me some stuff about being a pivot man because i was always the tallest kid in my class. so they got some guys to show me some pivot moves. and they showed me george-- drill for the hook shot. and i started working on it when i was in the fifth grade. by the time i got to the 8th grade it was second nature to me. and something i was able to use for the ledge of my ca roor. >> rose: what was your-- with the sky hookness a shot between 55 and 60 perbses in the nba lifetime so that is pretty good. >> they weren't all skyhooks but i was --
>> i assume sky hooks it would be even better shall wouldn't it. >> yeah, yeah. but you know there were some layups and dunks in there. >> rose: yeah, that as well. >> but the whole idea of taking the high percentage shot close to the paint, that is the way to play the game from the inside out, you get-- . >> rose: a smart way. >> smart way to play it. that is how you win. >> yeah. >> rose: that's how you win. >> are you ever called on, do you do it to help a young player, someone calls up and says come just work with this kid. he needs your wisdom. he needs your experience. he needs your judgement. >> summer of 2012 i got a call from -- noah and he wanted to improve his offense. i said come on out. he has great attitude, he came out. we spent about 12, 15 days in the gym, you know, over a heard of let's say three or four weeks. and i was able to show him some things. get his head around what he could do better. and he had a great season.
he was vastly improved offense itchly. he got hurt toward the end of the year and that really kind of torpedoed their chances in the play-offs. but great attitude. it was great working with him. >> rose: i think the country is doing on the rachel front. >> i think we've been doing some back sliding. you know what i've seen you know some of the supreme court decisions and all this effort to suppress-- . >> rose: having voting rights in south. >> minority voters, i don't get it, it seems like we're moving backwards. but i guess we are just going have to keep up the fight. >> rose: this book is called sasquatch in the paint, kareem abdul-jabbar written with ray ops does feld. >> anybody interested go to amazon.com/kareem. they can find out all about it, order it. and you know. >> rose: change a life. >> put it in the hands of young young people who need to trade. >> rose: change a life. >> hope so. >> rose: thank you. >> my pleasure. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us.
>> kenneth comb is here. he is a fashion designer. he's also the chairman of amfar the foundation for aids research, his company not only designs shoes and clothes, it has raised social awareness about issues like aids and homelessness through pro va vac-- provocative advertising. the 30th anniversary of brand is being celebrated by a new book called this is a kenneth cole production. he has also executive produced a new hbo documentary that documentary is called the battle of amfar. here is that trailer for that fill. >> aids is the long, physical, and mental torement of many thousands of human beings. >> to think about a cure in the early days wasn't even on the radar. >> most people start with
this idea they can't do anything because-- i -- >> it's not so everybody. everybody can do something. >> i was made so aware of this loud silence regarding aids that i finally thought to myself, do something yourself. >> if dow your bit and i do my bit, we will make a goddamn difference. >> rose: i'm pleased to have kenneth cole at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: how are you. >> this is a treat, thank you so much. >> rose: tell me why this film now. >> the film now because we, there's two founders of amfar. we lost elizabeth taylor recently, dr. krim isn't getting younger and she's so articulate so-and-so passionate and such an important messenger of this very profound message. and amfar has played a very
significant role in the fight. it is the story of two extraordinary women of two different worlds, swiss scientist, hollywood legend, they come together from totally different places, create something different individually and it goes on to truly profoundly affect people's lives. and so we're at an interesting crossroads right now. and individuals have been cured from aids, clinically cured from aids. and. >> tell me about that because that's fascinating. >> it's very rare circumstances. it's this genetic mutation and it was identified in a berlin patient. and with amfar funding, ultimately they were able to apply it to an individual who was being treated for leukemia and there was a stem cell transplant. and they cured both. so lots of learnings for this six drugs that are keeping millions of people alive today. amfar has had a very profound impact.
today independent storytelling is one of the most, the easiest and most important ways of communicating important messages some we still, we found these two great filmmakers, epstein and yev friedman who agreed to work on the project. so we, and hbo supported it. and it is off and running. >> rose: why you? why did you-- you are a busy man, dow a lot of things. >> it is a good yes. so this goes back in the 80ses. and i was running a shoe business. and i, there was this pervasive consciousness that was kind of, that was rising at the time. and people were wanting to get involved in something bigger than themselves and we saw hands across america. we are the world, live aid. farm aid. and most of it was about hunger in ethiopia but nobody wanted to talk about aids in the 80s because if they did they were presumed to be at risk.
and stigma arguably has killed more people than aids itself. and that is what kept everybody silent. ronald reagan as we talked about in the film didn't mention the word aids publicly until '87 until 40,000 people died and he only mentioned it once and it was at an amfar event. >> rose: why was that. >> because of stigma. because to talk about it you are presumed to be sympathetic to the at-risk community which just wasn't a popular place to be. then, and even to a large degree today as well. so it was an opportunity to say something important at a time when few had and others wouldn't. and so i did. but not i alone, obviously matilda and elizabeth and so many others. and then i tried to get off the bus at different times. but it wasn't easy. and then i was asked to take on the chairmanship in '05 which was a gift. >> rose: surprised by your life. i mean did you ever imagine that it's turned out the way it has, in terms of designer. did you grow up in brooklyn
saying i want to make shoes? >> no. i didn't. i wanted to play shortstop for the new york mets. >> rose: lots of people did. >> so this is not a path i ever saw myself on. but i've just been so lucky, charlie. and i at every turn i have found opportunities to create something meaningful out of the path that i was on. and i-- . >> rose: how did the shoe business happen? >> so my father had been in the shoe business. so i learned the shoe business a little bit. and then i wanted to do something very personal and very different. so i-- i started the company in the early 80s. and hi a little bit-- i will tell you the story because people like when i tell the story. so it was i had a little bit of money. and i needed to get started quickly because most start-up companies then like today i think 60, 70% don't survive the first year because people underestimate the time they need and the amount of money they need to realize a return on their investment.
so i named the company kenneth cole because there wasn't google in those days and it took a long time to get a trademark searched and i couldn't take a chance to make up a name and find out months late their it wasn't acceptable. and i needed to make business cards and stationery and packaging. and i needed to register for a trade show because i didn't have a lot of time so i called company kenneth cole. ran to italy, found a shoe company that needed business knewing it was easier to get cedity from them rather than american banks that didn't. came back. i needed to show the shoes, cool lady shoes in two choices at the time. either at take a room at the hilton hotel, and which i think they were all $1100 people that did that, 30, 40 companies who were not very appealing. not a great way to find and distinguish myself and the other option was to get a big fancy showroom in, so on a whim i had a friend in the
trucking business and i called and said if i can figure out how to park one of your trailers in front of the hilton in front of the street will you rent it. >> he said sure, jerk, you can't park a bicycle for 3 minutes let alone for three days. if i can figure out will you lend it to me. >> if you can figure it out i will even help you decorate. so i called mayor koch's how can i get permit to park a -- --. >> he give permission only to circumstances if you are a utility company servicesing the street or a production company shooting a full motion picture so i said thank you mr. mayor, hung up the phone. i went to a stationery changed the name of my company to kenneth cole productions inc., filed for a permit for permission to open a full length motion picture, opened, with policemen compliments of mayor koch, i had a cameraman fill, sometimes there wasn't. and i sold 40,000 pair of
shoes. we sold 40,000 pairs of shoes in two and a half days. and we never changed the name of the company. we were public until recently, kcp was the symbol. and so that is the story. >> so so how many stores do you have now? >> five-- 100 in the united states and another 7 a to a hundred outside. >> rose: is the business changing? >>. >> business is changed profoundly. people do business very differently today butity mately people still wear shoes, clothes and they still, today people, i believe today customers today ef everybody is their own brand. and they cure rate their brand every day on their social platform. and they update every day and they also decide who can see their brand, who can have access to their brand so they either accept you or don't. they do it on their facebook, pinterest page, instagram or twitter feet. my hope is that people will allow me to be part of their
brand as opposed to my presuming that they're going to define themselves by mine. so the way people look at fashion is different, the way people consume fashion is very different today. and. >> what is this? >> so this is a book which i was, i so dreaded doing this book because we became 30 years old. the company, you are supposed to benchmark certain points in a company's growth. i start-- i started the company when i was six, to the really. so but i was rewill be tenant to do it because in many ways i feel the best part of the story is yet ton told and it is what lies ahead and that is what we did. and it is so dangerous in the fashion business to spend too much time reflecting on from where you have come because you might lose sight of where you need to go and it is a little indulgent but the book is a chronicle of 30 years. and it's a, has, it's a
visual reflection of that journey and it shows our advertising it. it shows our various messaging and it connects kind of the context-- content of the context. >> rose: i will show these real quick, okay. so just tell me because it shows the creativity here. this is? >> so that was the first aids campaign that i did in 1985. annie leibowitz and the biggest models of the day who all agreed. >> christie brinkley. >> and arianna and so children, that was the first aids campaign, 1985. talked about the fact that nobody is talking about hiv aids. >> rose: 28 years ago, 1985,. >> so safe sex, we know saids can only be cured through clean needle safe sex. both of which by the way ironically are illegal at the time to distribute, to advertise condoms and distribute clean needles. so we did a campaign to try
to further the cause. it's a woman's right to choose, after all she is the one carrying it. >> rose: did advertising people conceptually this or do you do it. >> i do t we. >> rose: i we. >> well, i have an organization, we all work on it together. but these are all, you know messages that i feel connected and resonate with customer and things i believe. in and i think women have to choose do they want big bags or small bags, they have to make that decision every day. >> rose: right. >> this? >> so we may not heal the world we hope to be an accessory, that is a bad pun. but you know, it's kind of, you know, we don't take what we do all that seriously. and to the degree we can be an accessory in your life choices then that's a privilege. >> rose: uh-huh. >> where would we be without our rights that is kind of the basic human-- it speaks for itself. >> rose: thank you.
>> rose: it's good. >> what we stand for is more tharnt than what we stand in, i think that also speaks for itself. this is an interesting campaign. this was a campaign, we did-- the company did all of amfar's marketing, branding communications for a period of time. and this was what we call the-- campaign. we took a group of people in our lives that we said what would happen if they had aids. and we said if your child had aids, and went on to say we have more to worry about than clean socks if the president had aids, we have more to worry about than your vote. and then the other then we want on to say if the pope had aids-- we have more to worry about than your prayers, but that ad didn't run. and when i showed the campaign to the-- they board at amfar they said okay, we're okay but you can't run the pope add. i said okay, i'm fine, i don't blame you. i showed the adds and shows what they weren't going to run and needless to say the press picked up on the one
we weren't going to run so it got-- the story got told and it was an important story. so this was a billboard that got cut off. >> it did. >> exactly and it talks about, we spend billions of dollars, you can see it up there, billions spent evicting one iraqi dictator could house american's 3.5 million homeless forever putting us on? >> kenneth cole. so that was-- we kind of made light of the fact of putting in perspective how much this country spent in trying to evict saddam hussein at the time. and at the end of the day, what-- when you put it in context with what we could have done else with those dollars, it provokes thought. which is something i've tried to do. >> rose: how much of these kinds of commitments, even though it benefits the name and it benefits the company, because there's at the
bottom of some of them different things, about kenneth cole productions, how much of this does it take from your time. you asked me how i spend my time. how much does it take of your time to be engaged by this film, book, which is not-- which is pore more than just running a business although my theory is everything flows into one big river. >> so it's a good question. but i think what i do in the ode coarse is i'm constantly contemplating kind of the bigger universe and i'm contemplating the context of the decisions we make every day, and in the essence in this business you need to be relevant. you need to and relevance is some what defined by everything happensing in our lives an i try to people to people about not just what is on their body but what is on their mind, not just what they stand in, what they
stand for. and i believe if i can connect with you in a more meaningful way our relationship will survive any one collection of handbags or high heel shoes. >> right. >> so that's what i have done. and it's been a privilege to do it. the industry has supported, promoted it, the consumers to a large degree have accepted it. and-- so-and-so that's what i do. and the world is changing so fast. and so i just think somehow it enables me and us to stay kind of on board and stay connected to it. >> so was's on the drawing board? >> so everything today is global. so we're trying to redefine kind of the global landscape and today fashion just like most things if it happens anywhere it's simultaneously happening every where. and that's a function of media. it's a funk of social media, specifically today.
so how do you take this business and make it relevant everywhere, make it but interrupt it, make it relevant globally but interruptive, interrupt it locally. so i just recently got back from india and bangkok and china and so it is just fascinating how the world is changing right now so fast. >> rose: it's good to see you. >> thank you, charl-year. >> rose: much success, the film is on hbo. >> the film is on hbo. the book is in book stores and hbo did the film. and it's on demand, i would imagine. and hopefully will you watch it, it is a great story. it is an important story. >> rose: thank you. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by
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